Virtually every one of us deals with stress every day. At work, at home, and even on transit, everything about our world today spells S.T.R.E.S.S! It’s hard to avoid it, and this is where a little self-care becomes important. The truth is, for the most part of your life, there will constantly be a never-ending checklist of things to do. You just have to learn to mindfully dedicate some “you moments” to take care of yourself by integrating stress-relieving activities into your life.
Sound bath meditation to the rescue! This ancient stress relief practice has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, and the reasons are not far-fetched.
What Is a Sound Bath?
A sound bath/healing is the process of manipulating sounds for healing. The sounds are created by instruments such as the Himalayan singing bowls with about 50 to 100 other people lying or sitting around. The goal of every session is to put participants in a deeper meditative state aided by these sounds to release built-up stress.
The origin of the sound bath has been linked all the way back to the Greek philosopher Pythagoras. According to records, he utilized sound as a form of medicine to treat various ailments. Sound baths have been found to be helpful for stress relief, and many participants in the session attest to its effectiveness.
Studies on the effects of Tibetan singing bowls, tiny cymbals, crystal singing bowls, gongs, and other small bells on tension, mood, and wellbeing have proven the effectiveness of this ancient practice. In one sound bath study, participants were significantly less depressed, angry, fatigued, and tense than they were before the meditation.
Facts You Should Know About Sound Baths
Before you integrate sound baths into your wellness routine, there are things you should know about the practice.
Knowing how to meditate is not a requirement before you go to a sound bath.
With sound baths, you need not be a meditator. First-timers can enjoy the benefits of sound baths. We all naturally have a relationship with sound. Plus, it is immediate and has a direct impact on our whole being.
The sessions also do not require the discipline meditation does, even though the first few minutes of each session can begin with some breath works. You can still have a profound and positive experience with the session, whether you’re a well-practiced mindfulness expert or not.
Sound baths can even serve as a gateway to deeper meditation by gently introducing you to what it feels when the mind is calm.
Sound therapies come in different forms.
Every single instrument used in a sound bathing session serves different purposes. The crystals and Tibetan singing bowls, for example, are known to be grounding and, therefore, useful for meditation. Depending on the bowl used, they can resonate with the heart chakra down to the lower parts of the body. Tibetan singing bells resonate up in head centers and can be helpful for easing congestion. Gongs and Durga-style drums are great for deeper, primal sound as they give off that guttural feeling and help to break up deep-seated energy that may weigh you down.
Gongs, for example, come in several styles, each with a different purpose. The Jupiter gongs, on the one hand, are expansive and help you feel lighter while the Venus and Moon gongs are not only gentle and soft; they also help you easily drift into meditation.
Regular sound bath practice is essential.
For the optimum benefit and overall wellbeing, introducing a regular but calming sound bath practice is essential. Every session and experience with sound baths will differ. This is based on your feelings and surroundings, but one thing is sure; each new experience will teach you more about yourself. You may have a visual experience in some sessions, and at another session, your emotion and perception of time may be distorted. These, in the end, help to make you a better person.
A professionally facilitated sound bath makes a world of difference to your session.
Because the sessions can be very powerful, you want to ensure that your professional has studied sound healing. While it’s easy to use words like “sound bath” or “sound healing” by event promoters, it is important that you realize that real sound baths or sound healings are different and not simply about the “practitioner’s” need to express themselves to an audience.
A professional sound bath expert understands that relinquishing the notion of self in order to serve the participants selflessly remains the ultimate goal. A professional also knows just how to create and maintain a safe place as he introduces his audience to the healing power of sounds.
Sound baths are NOT another form of entertainment.
Know this; the goal of any sound bath session is not to entertain you but to cause a shift in your consciousness by utilizing specialized tools. In a sound bath, the facilitator strips away the usual elements of music, such as rhythm and arrangement. The result, when done correctly, is a slowdown of your brainwaves. This moves you from a more active state (beta) to a more dreamlike but relaxed state (alpha).
It is not anything like a concert and does not require the same concentration and attention demanded by traditional music. Instead, it is a movement into a deeper state and an opportunity to disconnect yourself from your hyperactive reality for better self-awareness.
Lastly, as much as possible, try not to enter a sound bath intending to analyze the instruments as that could eventually cause you to take longer to settle into a relaxed state.
Sound baths are a fantastic way to relax and get into a meditative state, especially if you find it hard to concentrate during traditional meditation sessions.
Depending on your facilitator, a sound bath can vary but usually cheaper for group sessions, while private sessions could go for more.
Also, like most first-timers, you may find it difficult concentrating and even feel frustrated after the first 20 or 30 minutes as you try to clear your mind, but once you focus on the sounds, your breath and work on being present, you’ll experience some level of relaxation even if you do not reach a meditative state.